On Dec. 6, 1989 Montreal’s L’Ecole Polytechnique was the scene of a mass shooting that killed 14 female students who were targeted because they were women.
This date has since been marked as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
Algonquin is commemorating this day with an event from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., tomorrow (Wednesday, Dec. 6) starting with an address from Project Lighthouse coordinator Sarah Crawford and the White Ribbon Campaign’s Kevin Vowels.
Following the address, a procession lead by Jackie Tenute from the Mamidosewin Centre with a student wearing a red jingle dress followed by drummers and 14 people carrying photographs of the 14 women murdered in Montreal on this day in 1989.
According to Crawford, the jingle dress has been made red deliberately to honour all missing and murdered aboriginal women, an issue for which there is currently a national inquiry.
The procession will walk through all the connected campus buildings, starting and ending in Student Commons. Along the way they will be handing out 500 white ribbons for the Algonquin community to wear to show their support.
In addition to the procession, there will be a shoe vigil held in Student Commons, with a pair of shoes to honour every person killed by intimate partner violence in the last statistical year, 2014. There will be both male and female shoes to highlight that sexual violence affects both genders.
Kevin Vowels will be in Student Commons for the duration of the event to give out info on the White Ribbon Campaign, which is the world’s largest organization of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls.
“Especially with everything happening in the media right now, we don’t want to forget that these are gender-based crimes,” Crawford said.
She hopes that this event will engage the student community with this issue. The organizers ask any students willing to use the hashtag #IBelieveYou during the event to promote acceptance and support of survivors of sexual violence.
The same event is happening on a smaller scale at both Perth and Pembroke campuses.